The research on brain activity by Rosalind Picard and her colleagues at MIT’s Media Lab suggests that students’ brain activity is nearly non-existent during lectures – even lower than when they are asleep. Lectures equal brain “flatlining” and, as Professor Eric Mazur of Harvard University’s Physics Department puts it, students “are more asleep during lectures than when they are in bed!”
In 2007, the Canadian Education Association asked students the perennial parent question: What did you do in school today? through a survey containing questions about student participation in school activities, commitment to attendance, homework and how they felt about their learning at school. Click the red title above to view the results of the survey. In its first three years, participation in the CEA survey grew from 10 districts and approximately 32,000 students to 18 districts and more than 63,000 students with these findings:
69% of students report meaningful participation in the life of the school and in active participation in requirements for school success, but only 37% of students report a serious emotional and cognitive investment in learning…What were the other 63% of students doing in school? What is the impact of such serious dis-engagement in learning?
Since the first questions were asked, further studies were done on 83 schools who participated in the original study. The good news is that improvements were made as schools addressed the issues around engagement.